Karina Strydom was a high school teacher; her fascination with early childhood development was sparked when both her sons were born with club feet and she felt that she needed to compensate by concentrating on developing their minds. Her programme, based on Glenn Doman’s work and the Montessori school principles, was so successful that she became extremely passionate about sharing it with other parents. In 1999 Karina started ‘The Reading Generation’ with three franchises that organised workshops for parents in the northern suburbs. She gave the same training to pre-school teachers in Soweto.
Hendrik Marais and Karina Strydom launched BrainBoosters in 2011. They share a passion and vision for raising literacy and numeracy skills in South Africa and believe the best way to accomplish this is preparing children before they go to school by helping them build an adequate vocabulary, strong number concept, knowledge of colours, shapes and a general love of books. Only parents or primary caregivers can lay that foundation, but they need the right tools and support.
I Am Driven By | Sadly, South Africa currently ranks 148/148 in the Global Competitive Index of 2014, and this inspires me to work even harder to improve numeracy and literacy in South Africa. There is nothing wrong with the children in this country, but I believe that existing educational methods need to change before we will see a positive, measurable impact at all levels of society.
My Highlights | One of the major highlights of the year was when I was invited by a senior advisor from Harvard to present the BrainBoosters Programme at the World Conference of Early Childhood Development in Monterrey, Mexico in October. A daily highlight is whenever I see the BrainBoosters Programme in action; when toddlers as young as two are able to recognise colours, shapes and numbers, it gives me immense satisfaction.
The Difference Between Good And Great | I think that what separates the great from the good is the degree of passion and dedication. People who are great at what they do have a very clear vision of their intended end-result and have spent a lot of time mapping out specific, measurable goals to help them make their vision a reality. They are not motivated purely by money or fame – their passion and dedication transcends any outward trappings of success.
A Key Talent |
- Ensure you have a very clear picture of what your long-term goal is.
- Take the time to work out a plan of how you will make your vision a reality.
- When you have a clearly-defined vision of what you want your end result to be, it is easier to weather setbacks and disappointments.
Principles I Live By | Don’t live your life constantly trying to please others. Keep your standards high – expect only the best from yourself and others. Don’t bear grudges. Be an example in everything you do – both professionally and privately. Live by a strong code of ethics.
Performing At My Peak | I pay attention to my lifestyle, maintaining a healthy balance between my work and private life. I also make sure I eat healthily, visit the gym and take regular breaks.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I learn constantly from my life partner, Hendrik Marais, who is my inspiration and mentor. I am an avid reader of newspapers and magazines such as Financial Times, Scientific American Mind, Economist and the Harvard Business Review. I love art movies and also travel extensively.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | My main goal is that every child in South Africa starts school having learnt the basic building blocks necessary for future learning, and that the work that BrainBoosters has begun goes from strength to strength, seriously impacting literacy and numeracy in South Africa.
The Meaning Of Life | The meaning of life is different for everyone. For me, living a fulfilling, meaningful life is the key. I want to make a real difference wherever I go, and continually strive to make this world a better place.
Advice On Building Wealth | Don’t let money and wealth be your sole focus. Look for inspiration in the simple things in life, be grateful for what you already have and invest in being kind to others and making a difference.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I’d love to leave a legacy of literacy. Imagine how powerful a literate South Africa would be!
Useful Links |